HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Mississippi Valley State University softball program will look to put a disappointing opening tournament behind them this weekend with two matchups against the host Southern Miss and one contest each versus Houston Baptist and Louisiana-Monroe.
What You Need to Know
- Time and Dates (Southern Miss): Friday, February 18 (7 p.m.) | Saturday, February 19 (2 p.m.)
- Time and Date (Houston Baptist): Saturday, February 19 (8 a.m.)
- Time and Date (Louisiana-Monroe): Sunday, February 20 (9 a.m.)
- Audio: N/A
- Live Stats: https://southernmiss.com/sidearmstats/softball/
- Tickets: https://ev6.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetGroupList?groupCode=SOFT&linkID=usm&shopperContext=&caller=&appCode=
- Records: Mississippi Valley State (0-5, 0-0 SWAC) | Southern Miss (4-3, 0-0 C-USA) | Houston Baptist (2-2, 0-0 Southland) | Louisiana-Monroe (6-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
- Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi – Southern Miss Softball Complex
- Series History: N/A
- Last Meeting: N/A
- Winning Streak: N/A
Mississippi Valley State Overview
The Green and White have proven to be a disciplined team in the early going, posting the league’s fifth-best strikeout-to-walk ratio at 1.64.
Sydney Wesley has been the best player in the SWAC regarding on-base percentage, reaching safely on 60% of her plate appearances while ranking second for slugging percentage (1.000) and cranking out her first career home run opposite Jacksonville State. She currently paces the squad in batting average (.429), total bases (7), hits (3), walks (3), runs scored (1) and doubles (1).
Both Wesley and Shelby Carson share the third spot on the conference leaderboard in reference to walks per game as they both have drawn 0.75 on average.
Preseason All-SWAC Second Teamer Brianna Alston has also gotten off to a solid start, slapping three hits in twelve at-bats.
Daisy Page is the anchor of the starting rotation, posting a MVSU-best 5.65 ERA, seven strikeouts, and 8.2 innings pitched plus a team-low .286 batting average against.
Scouting The Opponent: Southern Miss Lady Eagles
USM is hosting its second tournament in as many weekends, defeating North Alabama and Saint Louis in the Black & Gold Invitational before sweeping a road doubleheader at Southern to improve to 4-3.
Coach Buckner’s pitching staff will have to be wary of the power bats in the Lady Eagle lineup as they are a top-25 team in the country with 1.43 taters a game. They also rank second in Conference USA on the basepaths, averaging 1.43 stolen bases per ballgame.
Alyssa Davis and Alexis Dittmer have paced the power surge with a pair of home runs each while six others have launched one.
Davis has been on fire to open the campaign, logging nine RBIs to rank top-20 nationally and 15 total bases via 8 hits, both top-50 marks.
Destini Banks is the speed demon of the bunch, swiping five steals over seven games, the eighth-most in the NCAA.
Hannah Borden has the best batting average at .381 through 21 at-bats with Tata Davis (.333) and Natalie Taylor (.308) also hitting at an above .300 clip.
In the circle, Morgan Leinstock has already collected a pair of victories, going 25.1 innings in three appearances with 21 strikeouts and a healthy 2.21 ERA.
Scouting The Opponent: Houston Baptist Huskies
The ladies from Houston Baptist are 2-2 on the young year, defeating Dayton and Texas Southern while dropping matchups versus South Dakota and Wichita State.
The Huskies from H-Town have been rock solid up the middle defensively, turning an average of 0.67 double plays a day to crack the top-20 nationwide.
Sarah Venker has been fantastic on the mound for the Blue and Orange, allowing two earned runs over 8.2 frames, tallying 13 whiffs and a 1.62 ERA while opposing batters are hitting a paltry .182 against her.
Shelby Echols has rode a hot stick in her three games played, tacking on four hits in eight tries plus two runs scored and a walk.
Caitlyn Brookway has the team’s lone long ball and tops the team with three ribbies despite only two hits.
Scouting The Opponent: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
The Warhawks are one of just 27 teams that still have a zero in the loss column, sprinting out to a 6-0 start with wins over Morehead State, Stephen F. Austin, Southern, Jackson State and SIU-Edwardsville while beating the Devilettes in their season debut.
ULM has gotten on-base at an alarming clip, recording the 11th-highest on-base percentage in the nation at .483 and the 15th-best batting average with .381.
Kinsey Kackley sits atop the national leaderboard for hits allowed per seven innings, conceding only 0.84 base knocks.
All six of the Louisiana-Monroe hitters that have met the statistical requirements sport a batting average above .350 with the lowest being .364 by Gabby Davila.
The offensive production has come from slots one through nine in the batting order and has been a well-balanced attack at the dish.
#ValleyInMotion | #ForkEm | #LitBena